Category: Insights

IAB UK 2018 Digital Upfronts urges marketers to create more immersive brand connections with customers

By Irina Puzakova

The annual IAB UK Digital Upfronts took place in October this year where the UK’s leading content creators and media owners showcased their premium digital advertising opportunities for 2019. I was fortunate enough to attend some interesting sessions and would like to share my key learnings, which focus on driving more ‘meaningful’ attention to brands efforts through more immersive and world class storytelling.

Drawing attention to attention deficit

Many publishers voiced their concerns over fleeting attention spans and encouraged brands to work harder than ever to win the hearts and minds of consumers.

  • Facebook urged marketers to ‘stand out and stand up’ at a session focused on how to get ‘meaningful’ attention to drive positive outcomes. They noted that ‘attention economy’ has shifted more in the past four years than in the last 100. With the reach of commercial television in decline, falling print revenues, the growth of platforms like YouTube and subscription driven services such as Netflix and Spotify, ‘the more quantifiable nature of digital has shined a light on how advertising has always worked’. The latter inferred the importance of considering ways brands could visually and distinctively stand out in cluttered feeds – using the power of surprise and making the audience ‘feel something’.







  • Twitter reiterated how they could get consumers to pay attention to brands through aligning and integrating brand narrative into real time conversations happening on Twitter. The territories that drove the most tweets this year were Football and Entertainment. There were 115 billion tweet impressions during the 2018 World Cup alone, hence Twitter’s Premier League highlights rights extension for the 2020 season. On the entertainment front, #LoveIsland attracted 2.5 billion video views on Twitter with 1.2M tweet authors publishing 11.2M tweets.
  • JCDecaux named their session ‘The Brand Gap’, which focused on the theory and the reality of successful marketing activity. They referenced ‘The Long and The Short of it’ book by IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) which outlines the 60/40 rule and claims brands should aim for 60% long term brand building and 40% short term activation. It was pointed out that OOH is one medium that can achieve both short term results and longer-term brand building, and that Digital OOH is the second fastest growing media channel behind mobile.








Facilitating world class storytelling

Many partners highlighted opportunities where they could help brands to tell their stories in more innovative ways and illustrated the importance of technology in enabling truly immersive experiences and stories.

  • BBC Worldwide pointed to a new study from BBC StoryWorks, entitled The Science of Memory, whose findings focus on how emotional impact can make branded content more memorable.
  • Oath announced the launch of their global creative tech lab in LA – RYOT Labs. Oath’s film production and branded content unit has the ambition to “push the boundaries of innovation within storytelling” and is “looking to create the next generation of motion picture studios.” It was forecast that technology would take us into the realm of ‘science fiction’ thanks to the many innovations that are likely to emerge on the back of 5G wireless technology, with the new RYOT Lab aiming to ‘use emerging technologies to amplify human emotion’.








In summary, in the transaction-focussed, hyper-targeted state of current marketing, media partners highlighted the importance of brand building and driving emotional response to their messages. Technology keeps evolving and is bound to present even more immersive storytelling opportunities which can further elevate and amplify brand content and drive more meaningful consumer connections.

For more details on the upcoming product launches, opportunities and implications and the full report, please contact [email protected]

The Battle for the Living Room

TV viewing has dramatically changed over the past few years. New companies, new formats, new devices and new subscription models have all impacted what we can only very loosely still call ‘TV viewing.’ At a recent evening organised by MTM, we heard some of the brightest and the best from Sky, BBC, YouView and Google debate how our beloved googlebox experience may change even more over the next decade.

The biggest changes we can expect are around data, voice search, the user experience and ultimately the battle for YOUR living room.

Firstly, the opportunity with data is huge, and TV content providers are only just getting started. Everyone has taken note of the success Netflix had, and they are looking to improve the user experience through data to understand and personalise the viewing experience. This makes the EPG critical. In the UK, given their data capabilities and reach, Sky and BBC should be able to go toe to toe with Amazon and Netflix. Everyone else is in the uncomfortable position of playing catch-up.

The challenge is, viewers want content suggestions tailored to them and their viewing habits, but also want completely left-field suggestions they would never choose themselves and might love! No small task.

Voice search and command is highly significant, but also the great unknown. Searching via voice is twice as popular amongst 18-34s compared to all adults. Understandably, people are far more comfortable talking out loud from the comfort of their own house than in public. This means TV content is some of the most searched for via voice. Currently, content providers are trying to work out how to balance users switching between remote control use and voice.

Amazon’s Alexa’s technology is moving into more smart TV, offering Alexa as a catch-all assistant for viewing content on your TV, provided it is connected. Unsurprisingly, Google is not far behind in linking assistant to your TV alongside other household devices, and Apple TV already utilises Siri.

So rather than a battle for your TV, or perhaps your living room, this is quickly escalating into a battle for the OS to your home!

The engineers in the room were getting very excited about UX. Known to people like me as the user experience. It seems everyone is developing, learning from and improving upon everyone else’s UX. This amalgamation, where data meets the interface, meets navigation, and crucially gets you to compelling content fast, is the utopia moment for all broadcasters.

Interestingly, most are already testing different layouts, messaging and content. So, no-one’s Netflix or Sky interface will look the same as anyone else’s.

This brings us neatly onto the next significant development: The TV as an entertainment hub in the future. As voice interface more readily controls your TV, lights, curtains and thermostat, the TV may well become your main household interface. Whilst we may then spend more time with the big screen, TV content will be elbowed out the way by a plethora of other uses.

As TVs integrate a camera and movement recognition, we will more happily use the main set for video calls and games taken straight from apps. Games consoles can already be integrated into the main set. Photo albums and video clips can happily be called up from phone or Facebook with a simple command, and the TV becomes a social hub too. Snapchat lenses are far more fun when there is room for the whole family to be turned into rainbow-spewing trolls!

Where does this leave today’s content creator and provider? Interestingly there were some truisms that remain. The power of channel brands still exists, and their heritage makes them a default viewing option for years to come. Additionally, linear scheduling was still seen as important. Releasing an episode a week creates talkability over time which binge watching cannot yet compete with.

And finally, we may never rid ourselves of the power of Saturday Night. Families and friends still want to congregate together, to watch the biggest shows as a collective, connected mass. All the voice-controlled, Alexa-powered technology in the world cannot deter us from tuning into a bit of Ant n’ Dec.

Purpose is no longer an adjacent marketing strategy: it needs to form the core of a brand’s essence and behaviour

In recent years we’ve witnessed the rise and rise of purpose-led marketing and, in 2017 – a year when half of the Grand Prix winners at Cannes were purpose-led – we have reached the cusp of the revolution. Purpose is no longer a nice-to-have, adjacent marketing strategy; for a brand to succeed, purpose must now form the core of a brand’s essence and behaviour, thus informing all communications.

Why are we seeing this shift? As ever, it comes down to the consumer, who is increasingly aware of the impact their decisions can have on the world. According to Nielsen, 66% are willing to spend more on a product from a sustainable brand, rising to 73% of millennials. This clearly means that ‘responsible consumption brands’ will enjoy sustained growth – a LinkedIn study showed that 58% of companies with a clearly articulated purpose enjoyed growth of more than 10% over a three-year period. Unilever’s ‘sustainable living brands’ like Ben & Jerry’s and Dove grew 60% faster than the rest of the business in 2016 – CMO Keith Weed says ‘to succeed globally…brands must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities’. Doing good is cool and there is huge opportunity for brands who understand and enable this.

It’s not just the bottom line that benefits from putting purpose at the core of brand essence: workforce happiness and efficiency improve too. There is increasing demand from workers that their employers demonstrate a higher purpose than just profit. According to a Deloitte study, 90% of millennials want to use their skills for good, while more than 50% would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values. This translates into efficiency for the employer: 53% of workers would work harder if they felt their organisation was making a difference. As we approach 2025, when millennials will account for 75% of the workforce, focusing on keeping them fulfilled is crucial.

So it’s crucial to keep purpose at the heart of your brand behaviour – but it’s also crucial that the resultant marketing campaigns are executed in the right way. The key here is authenticity: consumers see right through ‘purpose washing’. Of course, it’s easy for brands like Toms or Warby Parker with social profit as their raison d’être to have authentic, purpose-led storytelling driving their communications, but any brand can be authentic in this space: credibility is found at the overlap of what society needs and what a brand is best at. The Bank of Aland’s Grand Prix-winning Aland Index project and OMD Ireland’s Pure Love campaign for Water Wipes are great examples of meaningful communications resulting from total alignment of purpose, brand personality and values.

Delivering on promises is also crucial; a Trinity Mirror survey revealed that 58% of adults do not trust a brand until they have seen proof that it has kept its promises, while 40% would stop using a brand because of its behaviour. US brand Boost’s Boost Your Voice campaign, another Grand-Prix winner, delivered on its pledge to increase equal voting access by turning their stores into voting booths in the 2016 presidential election: Boost precincts saw 23% higher voter turnout than in 2012.

To ensure authenticity, we need to plan for the human and what they want from brands, not the consumer. Harnessing data to inform rich insight is the only way to do this, and it’s why OMD’s dedicated purpose unit puts human data and insight at the heart of all its work. It enabled us to forge the partnership between our client Cisco and National Geographic. We fully leveraged mutual beliefs and each brand’s assets and equity, creating the Emerging Explorer campaign which demonstrated how technology can improve people’s wellbeing. Data also allows us to deliver localised campaigns – highly desirable in a globalised and sometimes impersonal world. And, of course, it enables us to measure how purpose affects a brand and to make informed decisions.

Pairing data-fuelled insights with the latest technological innovations will inform the future of purpose marketing. Brands are already looking at new ways to harness their data creatively to strengthen their social impact: Whirlpool’s US Care Counts campaign collected data from its washing machines in schools to help teachers understand the effect of clean clothes on pupil attendance, winning them the Creative Data Grand Prix at Cannes.

Using VR as a tool for empathy is also an exciting opportunity – careful use of the technology, perhaps to enable consumers to ‘live’ in a post-climate change world or to experience life as a refugee, could increase engagement with the cause a brand is championing. According to a YuMe survey, VR received a 27% higher emotional reaction than 2D and engaged the viewer for 34% longer.

As marketers we can no longer afford to overlook the potential of artificial intelligence to help us optimise marketing activity and ultimately ensure healthy growth for our brands into the future. This has been the focus of major research at OMD over the last year, with learnings incorporated into our clients’ campaigns. As more brands put purpose at the heart of their communications, it is inevitable AI will have an impact on purpose-led marketing too. We’re just at the beginning of the AI revolution and the possibilities are endless.

It is evident that there is a huge opportunity to engage consumers and talent in a meaningful way by making purpose the core of the brand’s essence. Authenticity must be the mantra, achieved by aligning that purpose with core values and delivering on promises. The wealth of data at our fingertips and the power of new technologies can only enhance the power of these campaigns and our ability to understand the positive impact they have on society and brand equity. With purpose at the heart of authentic marketing, the future is bright – for both brands and society.

The Evolution of Search in the Framework of e-Commerce Marketing

We can all feel how the search landscape is changing. Every day I hear a new stat – 50% of search in 2020 will be voice, search queries are getting longer with 50% now over four words, and using an image within search results increases the likelihood of conversion by up to 40%. I could go on.

Search is the primary indicator of changing consumer behaviour. It is estimated that people today interact with up to 200 digital touchpoints before visiting a store or completing a purchase online. The conversion path is now so dynamic that when we consider partners, we need to react with it. The stat that even some of my most sophisticated clients raise an eyebrow at is that 40% of product searches are direct to Amazon vs. Google, which receives 30%.

So what does this mean for the brands and advertisers? How do big and small players prepare for the battle? How do they make sure they stay in the search game and win the consumer amid the digital pollution and noise of the competition?

Shopper marketing vs. channel marketing

The answer, first and foremost, lies in focusing on shopper marketing vs. channel marketing.

One way to achieve this is to embrace the ‘holistic search’ approach, not only by integrating paid and organic search into a single search strategy, but also by rolling it out into the broader search ecosystem beyond ‘traditional’ search engines.

For example, OMD has delivered this approach for Bacardi by expanding its search activities directly into its retailer domains using Criteo’s machine learning technology (formerly known as HookLogic). The campaign helped the brand to overcome the fierce competition on the retailer sites and delivered outstanding results – over 700% ROAS and gaining half of the market share for the promoted products.

Levi’s closely follow suit, and has taken a step further to penetrate the ‘walled gardens’ of Amazon Search (AMS) in a bid to overcome the crowded organic space and firmly establish its dominance on Amazon. But despite endless commercial opportunities on Amazon, the challenges for search marketers are immense – AMS activation and management is fundamentally different from that on ‘traditional search engines’.

To overcome this challenge, OMD teamed up with Levi’s and Kenshoo, as a product design partner, to help the development of the AMS management solution which allows for AMS campaign management on scale. Within a month of on-boarding, OMD managed to scale up Levi’s AMS campaigns increasing traffic by 500% and delivering 4x more sales. As a result, Levi’s is now considering including AMS into the framework of its always-on search strategy.

So while media players continue the race of innovation to meet the modern consumer’s expectation of immediate access to information and goods at the snap of their fingers (or voice!), search evolves as an organic part of daily life.

Approaching search holistically

It is therefore important that brands and marketers start approaching search holistically in the context of the consumer path to purchase. Multi-channel API integrations, pursued by marketing software companies, marketing analytics and attribution solutions, can help in providing adequate measurement framework to understand the impact of each channel on overall search performance.

This may not be achieved overnight while many brands still operate in silos with little collaboration between brand and performance marketing, and a lack of coordination between marketing and merchandising or the online and offline. However, marketers are best positioned to lead clients towards consumer-centric strategies using the wealth of cross-vertical expertise and technology solutions they possess.

Word of Mouth: The Revolutionary Marketing Tool

Written by: Corinne Ivari & Carlota Masferrer-Font

The Festival of Marketing can always be a daunting experience. It is overwhelming, crowded, and one can easily get lost in the middle of all the events happening at the same time. In all truth it is a crazy two-day experience. That is why clever planning is extremely important. There are so many great speakers, one ultimately wonders: ‘what should I attend?’ – We decided to sign up to talks in different themes: AI, Brand & Creative, Personalisation, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation, Multichannel, and Insight (quite a lot indeed). However diverse these panels’ themes were, we found they all shared one in common: Word of mouth is a business’ best marketing tool. In order to gain client referrals, a brand needs to build trust with its customers by being consumer-centric.

Always Be Human First

In, The Power of Human Connection at Scale, Penny Wilson (CMO of HootSuite) and Dominic Chambers (Global Head of Digital Marketing at Jaguar) explain the importance of brands being Human First for positive business results. The speakers broke this out into two action points:

1. Be Customer Centric

  • Listening to customers
  • Personalising relevant content

2. Empower the organisation

  • Educating/training/building advocacy for internal employees

It is no longer about telling a story to consumers, but letting them lead the way, by listening to their needs and what they think about a brand. By focusing on Human First, a brand becomes consumer-centric which leads to brand loyalty and trust.

It’s all about trust

In his panel, Andy Cockburn (CEO & Co-Founder of Mention Me), discusses the osmosis effect of client referrals based on brand trust. Age affects who a consumer believes in terms of recommendations (bloggers, celebrities, friends and family, etc.) However, references from a friend are most valued across all ages. If a client trusts a brand, they will want to recommend it to their friends and family. Loyal and trusting consumers will go through two main filters before recommending a brand:

  • The reputation filter: is this brand good enough for me to recommend it?
  • The relevance filter: is this useful for my friend?

Subconsciously this filter works both ways. The person receiving the recommendation knows these two filters check the boxes. Once the referral is made, the current customer shares the positive brand experience but also the brand trust and loyalty. Word of mouth is key for business success as the brand freely obtains the prospective clients’ trust.

‘We require a collaborative ‘borderless’ culture to thrive’ – Andy Upton

Within the realm of Human First, a brand/organisation must go beyond training, educating, and building advocacy internally. Andy Upton, a keynote speaker from OMD EMEA, presents 8 great tips to further empower organisations in a multi-channel world. These complement the Human First ideas mentioned above perfectly. The 8 tips are:

  • Keep the team together (minimise turnover, maximise motivation)
  • Be human (understand cultural differences, have empathy)
  • Don’t deviate from the mission (write it as a one liner and keep it handy)
  • Have a Ways of Working, process, or even better, an OS
  • Merchandise success & socialise working via technology
  • Go where the energy is
  • Meet face to face to face almost to the point of being painful
  • If in doubt, over communicate

Andy goes further in his analysis of improving organisations by saying ‘hire for attitude, train for skills’. Armed with these tips, organisations can further their Humans First philosophy to build brand trust and ultimately generate organic word of mouth.

We ended the Festival of Marketing with a truly inspirational panel ‘A Mission Driven Start-up’ conducted by Nilan Peiris (VP Growth, Transferwise) and Tom Hillman (Social Manager, Transferwise). Transferwise is the perfect example showcasing how word of mouth is a business’ best marketing tool. As a relatively new organisation, Transferwise very quickly understood the importance around word of mouth. They realised most of their clientele comes from referrals and this has become their focus in media and marketing. They create relevant, thumb stopping content on social media, target their current customers, and let them lead the show. The current customers share these posts with friends and family, they engage with the content and leave riveting reviews online. Transferwise carefully listens to their clients to continuously improve their customers’ experience, which in turn delivers more word of mouth. A real success story.

OMD UK launches ground-breaking The Future of Generations research

OMD UK has unveiled its Future of Generations research project that, for the first time ever, uncovers generational myths that are deeply ingrained in British society.

Developed by OMD UK’s Insight team and launched at an event at Soho Hotel, the study addresses the changes in attitude towards the youth, middle-aged and the elderly, accompanied by a blurring of traditionally perceived boundaries of age-appropriate behaviour and lifestyles.

The research smashes five generational myths:

  • Younger generations are narcissistic and rude – [ctt template=”1″ link=”R_IQd” via=”yes” ]70% of teenagers would argue that they are concerned about social issues in the world, compared to 57% of the population @OMD_UK @OMD_EMEA[/ctt]
  • Teens have little influence in household purchases – [ctt template=”1″ link=”74CfU” via=”no” ]Teenagers are involved in the majority of purchase decisions from food (81% involvement) through to cars (one in five indicated involvement)[/ctt]
  • The midlife crisis involves buying fast cars, travelling the world and spending the kids’ inheritance – We are seeing a new emerging trend of people starting to be more health orientated when they reach this pivotal time in their lives. [ctt template=”1″ link=”hT8IF” via=”yes” ]Those aged 40-43 show the highest usage of My Fitness Pal after the 16-19-year-old audience @OMD_UK @OMD_EMEA[/ctt]
  • Older generations are lonely, isolated and not connected to others  – Those of us over the age of 65 are the happiest group overall. [ctt template=”1″ link=”aO3wv” via=”no” ]An average of 57% of people over 65 rate their happiness between 8 to 10 on a scale of 1-10, compared to 42% of the total population @OMD_UK[/ctt].
  • The younger generation are much more networked and bigger influencers than the older generation – 24% of those influencing financial decisions are aged 60+. [ctt template=”1″ link=”49Tbt” via=”yes” ]84% of the younger generations arguing that they can learn from the older generation @OMD_UK @OMD_EMEA[/ctt]

The large-scale, innovative study included a six-week online community, mobile ethnography and inter-generational focus groups. Learnings were then fed into an online survey with 3,000 Brits, which included implicit testing to allow OMD UK to uncover perceptions that are deeply ingrained into our subconscious.

Sarah Gale, Head of Insight at OMD UK said: “I’m incredibly proud to launch this game-changing research. It’s the first time that we’ve analysed the whole spectrum of generations within one study and the results are already being applied to marketing and communications strategies for our clients.

Generations forms the next phase of our pioneering The Future of Britain research initiative that’s been at our core since 2013. We’re excited to launch our other studies over the next 12 months that will tackle the issues and topics that continue to shape our great nation.”

The full white paper is available to download here.

Originally posted on the OMD UK blog.

OMD @ Arab Luxury World 2016

Arab Luxury World, the region’s largest conference on the business of luxury, took place on 1-2 June, 2016. OMD was present throughout the event with speakers participating in numerous panels and seminars. Here, we bring you all the insights and driving themes from this year’s edition.

Luxury across generations in the Arab world

What are Arab Millennials looking for when it comes to luxury and how do they differ from Generation X? This was the focus of a private break-out session hosted by OMD, featuring key insights from our research study on the subject. Maya Bou Ajram, OMD’s Senior Director-Planning on the LVMH portfolio, presented the findings and then introduced a panel discussion with marketing leads from Infiniti and Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. “We wanted to understand key differences across generations – how they differ in terms of consumption, motivation, influence and media triggers – and ultimately learn how we can better influence desire for luxury,” said Ajram about the study. “Millennials do make more emotional purchases while Gen X is driven by a need to replenish or enhance their existing collection. Millennials are about aspiring to be who they are while Gen X are validating who they are.”

Effective data management

The conference featured a panel discussion on the effective use of CRM and omni-channel planning to develop smooth customer journeys. OMD’s Head of Analytics, Walid Hadid, was one of the speakers and he opened the discussion by describing the transformation of data across the decades, from slow-moving data collected in a notebook in the ’60s to the rapidly changing data we collect from digital platforms today. “Social engagement with content changes massively and rapidly. The role of us as marketers today is to decipher that data and link it together in order to allow brands, and particularly luxury brands, to compete more effectively in a crowded marketplace,” said Hadid.

Digital trends for luxury

This year’s digital strategy panel featured Stanislas Brunais, OMD’s Head of Performance Marketing, who explained how digital now acts as the first touch point in the purchase journey for luxury consumers. Francesca Ciaudano, Deputy General Manager Marketing & Public Relations at Infiniti Middle East, further emphasised that 96% of consumers start their search online, hence the importance of adopting a multi-channel approach in today’s environment. Jean-Pierre La Calvez, Head of Global Alliances, Partnerships and Customer Marketing at HP Inc. added to this, stating that technology impacts the whole value chain today, including product creation, supply chain management and consumer engagement. “Luxury brands have prided themselves on personal relationships and technology enables that personalization on digital,” audiences heard.

The rise of influencers in the region

Given the massive rise of influencers in this region, the conference featured a dedicated panel to discuss the value and ROI generated from this channel as well as best practices. OMD’s Senior Director, Maya Bou Ajram, was one of the panellists and shared key insights from regional campaigns she has executed for brands such as Sephora. “It’s not about the number of followers an influencer has but rather, it’s about marrying brand values with that of the influencer,” stated Ajram. “The influencer should reflect exactly who I am as a brand. Authenticity is key and brands should not force content on influencers; this is something we struggle with in luxury. Instead, we need to share our DNA and co-create content with them.”

Originally posted at

Future of Britain

In 2013, OMD UK launched the Future of Britain. In the wake of the recession, they found that British lives were fundamentally changing. There was a need to delve deeply into this to better understand the implications the recession had on the way British people consume brands and technology, as well as how they relate to each other.

In this research OMD UK didn’t simply confirm that Britain was changing, they also uncovered detailed insights demonstrating the extent to which attitudes, values and behaviours of the nation were shifting. After this wave of research there was a great appetite from OMD UK’s clients and colleagues to dig deeper into the trends.

Therefore, OMD UK launched their second phase – Living with Future Britain, an innovative mobile ethnography study which enabled them to virtually live with British households, and gain a richer understanding of what makes British people tick. Over 200 Brits from across the nation shared images and videos detailing all aspects of their lives, from the food in their fridges to the products they have in their bathroom cabinets!

Since these two revolutionary projects, numerous waves of the Future of Britain have been launched, using a plethora of research techniques to provide insights into different areas. These include exploring changing family relationships and household dynamics in ‘The Future of Families’, looking into how connected Britain helps people become more empowered in ‘Now and Next’, and most recently the myths of Christmas shopping behaviour and attitudes in ‘The Future of Christmas’.

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So what is next for The Future of Britain? The plan for 2016 is to launch smaller and more thematic modules across the year to continue delivering the company promise of being culturally connected. In particular, OMD UK are looking at four themes – audience, how we spend time together, media and different sectors and categories.

Right now the team are working on their Generations piece. This addresses the changes in attitude towards youth, middle-aged and the elderly, accompanied by a blurring of traditionally perceived boundaries of age-appropriate behaviour and lifestyles.

The objective of the Generations research piece is to challenge some of these assumptions, and stereotypes as well as understand intergenerational relationships, shared values and uncover intergenerational differences on attitudes towards categories and brands. For this, OMD UK have commissioned House 51, specialists in Behavioural Economics, to support with the analysis. Part of the research included IRT (Implicit Response Testing), which uses time constraints to give a less rationalised view of perceptions of different age groups in Britain today.

This project is also a platform to provide a point of view on Purpose-Led Marketing; evaluating the potential impact it could have on brand image and purchase intent.

Whilst OMD UK are knee deep in the analysis stage the launch is set for the next few months so keep your eyes peeled for an update soon.

For more information please visit the Future of Britain blog or contact the team at [email protected]

Introducing “The Future of the UAE”

In a country that is evolving rapidly, change is the only constant. The ‘plates’ of the UAE’s consumer landscape are continuously shifting, with new waves of expatriates arriving each day and technology continuing to transform our lives. As a result, the consumer’s psyche, attitude and behaviours are evolving, making business a challenging task. To document and explore this evolution, OMD UAE launched the ‘Future of the UAE’ in December 2015. 2000 face-to-face interviews were conducted to better understand how the UAE population live today and how they expect to live tomorrow. The survey delved into Emiratis and expatriates’ views on happiness, lifestyles, technology, the environment, values, national identity, financial priorities, health, work-life balance, entrepreneurship and purchasing decision influencers.

Balancing between tradition and modernity, the UAE is forging a path towards the future, one that includes the key notion of happiness, national identity, entrepreneurship and sustainability. These are some of the notions OMD UAE explored and found that, despite the occasional bumps in the road, residents are overwhelmingly optimistic – approximately 90% of UAE residents are optimistic about the future and believe their lives will significantly improve in the next two years. Fadi Maktabi, OMD UAE’s Head of Strategy, highlights that the economic downturn of the past few years has done little to dent the ambitions and aspirations of UAE residents. Whilst some do struggle financially, particularly in terms of debt, more than two-thirds of respondents still anticipate they will spend either as much as, or more, than today in the coming years.

One concern that was raised at ‘The Future of the UAE’ launch event was the risk of reverse brain-drain, where expatriates would leave the UAE to either go to another country or back home. While the debate about the dilution of faith, language and cultural values does exist, since the UAE has the largest proportion of foreign-born residents in the world (88%). Seven in ten Emiratis believe that the influx of foreigners has proved beneficial both to the country and themselves. Considering the recent downgrade, forecasted growth for 2016 still stands above 3% and unless things change dramatically they shouldn’t worry. Additionally, over two-thirds of respondents believe people will continue coming to, and finding work, in the UAE over the next five years.

Overall, this particular type of research provides a marker for the changes that have been witnessed and a guide for those to come, looking at both the societal and marketing implications they carry. ‘The Future of the UAE’ is an ongoing conversation and to find out more, visit the OMD UAE blog or follow @OMDMENA on Twitter for updates.

Future of Ireland

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2016 marks the centenary of the most important year on Ireland’s journey to independence so Autumn 2015 seemed like the right time to look towards the future.

As the 17th OMD market across the globe to launch a Future of project, our ambition was to launch a comprehensive overview of what the Irish consumer believes the future holds for them, personally and indeed for all of us collectively. What it wasn’t was a forecast – no GDP estimates, or technology projections – nor did we set out different scenarios for the future. Instead, our report was an attempt to capture and encourage the Irish conversation about the future: the one in our families, communities, workplaces and with our friends.

We listened to the hopes, dreams, fears and ambitions of over a thousand people in focus groups and a survey, looking for the words, themes and vocabulary that people use when talking about the future – both their own and our nation’s. We haven’t asked the experts or pundits for their opinion. We simply asked people from all over Ireland about the things that matter to them and to their loved ones.

As a small market, we wouldn’t have been able to deliver on this ambition without the support of Ulster Bank who, whilst not being a client, partnered with us to bring our vision to life as it fit perfectly with their ‘Help For What Matters’ strategy. This allowed us, amongst other things to engage a young photographer – David Gerulis – who captured the people, their visions and the place so brilliantly.

If there is one over-arching theme in the Future of Ireland study so far, it is that people want to take control of their future. Whether in terms of finances, skills or health; we seem to be entering an age in which people no longer rely on traditional authorities and leaders for guidance. It’s a theme that recurs repeatedly through many of the sub-themes in our study. These are as follows:

  • Hope, relating to the prospects for renewal as recovery gathers momentum
  • Belonging, about our sense of identity in a changing world
  • Family, on the changing nature but continuing importance of family and friendship in Ireland
  • Change, the growing awareness of the new forces shaping our economy and society
  • Happiness, looking at the things that matter most, and will matter most in making us happy
  • Destiny, a look ahead to new sources of influence, and declining sources, as we plan our own future

Ten years ago no one would have believed that 60% of those interviewed – including those over 60 – would think that marriage will become less relevant in the future or that 10% of the Irish population would think that, due to global warming, Ireland will become a commercial wine producer in the next 10 years!

So what is the future for The Future of Ireland? In April, following both a General Election and the centenary celebrations, we will embark on Phase 2. This will focus largely on the youth sector (16-24 year olds) – after all, they are the future and according to the existing study are likely to become increasingly influential. We also hope to look at food and what the future looks with health and well-being which is becoming increasingly important.

Watch this space, visit or follow @OMDFire on Twitter for updates.

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